Every child who laces up the skates as a youngster — from the frozen ponds in Canada to the local skating rinks in hockey hotbeds like Massachusetts and Minnesota — dreams of playing in the National Hockey League. They envision themselves in their favorite player’s skates of their hometown team. Many envision scoring a sudden-death playoffs overtime winner in said scenario.
Charlie Coyle is no different than any other player realizing his NHL potential. But the Weymouth-born forward is one of only a handful of players skating for the team they grew up watching the most.
And now he’s one of the very few to score an overtime winner in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Bruins trailed a rusty Blue Jackets squad 2-1 late in the third during Game 1 of their second round series. A two-goal in 13 second stretch on tip-ins from Brandon Dubinsky — following a Coyle turnover — and Pierre-Luc Dubois earlier in the stanza put the Black and Gold in a tough spot.
“Well I had a costly turnover in the third period, you can’t have that during the game,” Coyle said about the events leading up to Nash’s first of the playoffs.
The Bruins’ best players, like David Pastrnak, weren’t their best players in Game 1. Their missed chances on Sergei Bobrovsky in an otherwise stellar first period nearly came back to haunt them.
Coyle, redeemed himself, though. The former Boston University forward saved the day when he knotted things up at 2-2 with 4:35 left in regulation on a beautiful feed from Marcus Johansson.
The equalizer marked a big-time moment in and of itself. Little did anyone know that Coyle was just beginning.
Coyle and Johansson — Don Sweeney’s two marquee trade deadline acquisitions — connected again 5:15 into the extra session for their second points of the night. Danton Heinen’s keep in made it all happen.
“It’s great. What a great video, teaching point for young guys that come in here, how they were in good spots,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said about the game-winning sequence. “They won a puck, and then your skills take over at the other end.”
One by one, Coyle’s teammates came off the bench to celebrate their 3-2 victory.
There was joy from that celebration for sure, but also relief. Coyle expressed the latter with Tuukka Rask flanking him on his right.
“I was just relieved we got the win,” said Coyle, who added his fourth and fifth goals of the postseason in Game 1. “I didn’t care who scored to be honest. It’s special, personally. It’s all about the team here. I was glad after that turnover just to get the win no matter how we did it.”
Relieved, and exhilarated for sure. After all Coyle didn’t join Rask to begin the press conference. We can understand why. The congrats from friends and family on site probably kept him occupied.
Rask took the first two questions. Coyle came in toward the end of Rask’s second answer to one of the assembled press members in the black walls area in Level 3 of TD Garden. All but one of the remaining questions went in Coyle’s direction.
The second to last question was left open for either to respond. Rask let Coyle take the honor of replying to a query of winning Game 1.
Rask let Coyle do the honors.
“Go ahead, you’re on a roll,” the Bruins’ goalie said to Coyle.
Coyle answered, just like he did with his two tallies following the turnover. But he didn’t need any quotable to capture his moment. He let his play do the talking instead.
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